More UPDATE on Shipping During Japan Radiation Crisis
As Japan is recuperating from last months tragic events, shipping lines are providing minimal services and operating with caution to transport goods.
Hyundai Shipping Line is the only shipping line that specifically mentions restrictions concerning food items.
- They will continue to accept frozen cargo to Yokohama and Tokyo and ports in southern Japan.
- However, due to power outages and risks to refrigerated cargo, they are accepting bookigns of chilled cargo to Yokohama and Tokyo only with Letters of indemnity (LOI).
- Also, due to power blackouts, they will not accept chilled cargo to Niigata under any conditions (LOI or otherwise).
APL Shipping Line provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about the conditions in Japan.
Q: What is the status of your operations in Japan?
A: NOL’s employees are all safe and accounted for. Our offices, marine terminals and other facilities, and vessels are safe and in operation.
Q: Are you evacuating offices or locations?
A: No. We are open for business and there has been no dislocation. We are monitoring the situation closely in Japan. The authorities have advised that there is no indication of a health threat in the areas where we are located at this time.
Q: Are you diverting vessels from Japan?
A: No. We are in regular communication with our vessels to update them on conditions and to advise them on routings that avoid areas of radiation risk. We are tracking reports on weather and radiation levels hourly and can adjust routings quickly if conditions change.
Q: Are vessels expressing concern about radiation?
A: We are in regular communication with our vessels to update them on conditions and to advise them on routings that avoid areas of radiation risk. We are tracking reports on weather and radiation levels hourly and can adjust routings quickly if conditions change.
Q: Have you declared an exclusion zone around the damaged nuclear reactors?
A: We are directing vessels at sea to remain 200 nautical miles from the area. We are not transporting cargo into or out of the area surrounding the nuclear reactors.
Q: Is it safe for your employees to be working in Japan?
A: We are monitoring the situation closely in Japan. The authorities advise there has been no indication of a health threat in the areas where we are located.
Q: Are you accepting cargo bookings to Japan?
A: Yes, with exceptions. We are temporarily suspending bookings to the following locations because operational facilities are inaccessible or unavailable due to earthquake or tsunami damage:
Ø Hitachinaka and Kashima in Ibaraki prefecture;
Ø Ishinomaki, Ofunato, Shiogama and Sendai in Miyagi prefecture;
Ø Onahama and Shirakawa in Fukushima prefecture;
Ø Hachinohe in Aomori.
Q: Have your operations been disrupted by the disaster?
A: Cargo operations were disrupted for a day at our marine terminal in Yokohama due to a power failure. But we have been operational since then. We are declining bookings to a number of locations in Japan because operational facilities are inaccessible or unavailable due to earthquake or tsunami damage. We are currently unable to move or deliver cargo to many locations in Japan according to original delivery schedules. This is due to interrupted rail and road networks in northeastern Japan. We are notifying customers in those circumstances.
Q: What effect will the disaster have on cargo volume?
A: It’s too soon to say.
Q: How big is your business in Japan?
A: We have an office in Tokyo with 51 employees and another 31 employees in Yokohama. We operate marine terminals at Kobe and Yokohama. We do not break out revenue or volume by country.
Q: How can you assure that my cargo and your containers are not contaminated by nuclear radiation?
A: APL is closely monitoring and following the directives provided by Japanese authorities. The authorities have imposed a safety zone with a 30 kilometer perimeter around the affected nuclear plants at Fukushima, and have advised that radiation levels outside that perimeter are safe and pose no health hazard. APL is not receiving equipment from or dispatching equipment to locations within the safety zone. Moreover we are informed, based on the bulletins provided by the Japanese authorities that containers arriving from other regions throughout Japan are safe to handle and transport. We will continue to keep our customers advised of developments. We will provide updates as needed on www.apl.com
Q: Are you testing vessels and containers for radiation?
A: No. Equipment is not available in Japan to conduct testing. We are aware of no other carrier conducting radiation tests in Japan. We are taking full precautions to avoid radiation exposure for our people, assets and customers’ cargo. Our ships at sea remain 200 nautical miles from the area where heightened levels of radiation have been detected. Our staff is being kept far outside the area of heightened exposure risk identified by Japanese authorities. We are not accepting bookings into or out of that area.
Q: Are you banning the transport of agricultural exports from Japan?
A: We obey the regulations of trading nations that ban commodities and expect our customers to do the same.
Q: Why are we still operating at Yokohama if other carriers are pulling out?
A: We continue to monitor official advisories on conditions in Japan on an hourly basis and take full precautions to ensure the safety of our people, assets and customers’ cargo. Japanese authorities have identified no health risks in the areas where we operate. This includes the ports where our ships call. Almost all carriers are continuing to call at the ports of Kobe and Yokohama where we have operations.
Q: Are your ships being refused entry to foreign ports if they’ve been to Japan?
A: No APL vessel has been denied entry. Our first vessels from post-earthquake Japan have reached the U.S. and discharged cargo that was cleared by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after a radiation scan.